Category Archives: Video Games

Basic A* Pathfinding in Torch

Torch is a simple rougelike personal project I’m programming using C++ and OpenGL with the primary goal of making a simple 2D game with lots of state that needs to be simulated and without using any third-party libraries. I also want to have at least a few working mechanics that inject a little more Dungeons […]

Nearly Beyond Earth: Huns in Space

Civilization: Beyond Earth comes out this Friday, and it looks rather nice. As a marked improvement over previous games in the series, it is set in space. In fact, the group of colonists you set off with at its beginning are meant to loosely represent fresh victors from Civilization 5, having conquered the greatest scientific feats Earth can sustain after plastering […]

Review: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

First-person narrative-heavy exploration games are usually blunt instruments, and that’s okay. Fans remember Myst as a fantastic world full of secrets–not a game crammed full of infuriating puzzles that most of us needed strategy guides to solve. What counts is the feeling of freedom against the unknown. When this hazy genre convinces players that an uneasy truce exists between their actions […]

D&D: Don’t call it a comeback

Action points and character powers are out. Attribute based saves and a Vancian magic system are in. Some see this as rewinding the clock on Dungeons and Dragons, largely undoing the changes made by fourth edition. But the more I parse the player’s handbook, the less I agree with that interpretation. Beneath its mechanics, this edition feels more primeval. […]

Dragon Age Replayed

With Dragon Age: Inquisition coming out October 7 November 18 (and me never having  played Awakening, the first game’s expansion) I wanted to get a fresh save file, start to finish, with choices that fit my personal canon. (ed: Another change…save files won’t be importable, but you will be able to choose what protagonists did in the first […]

Warren Spector, PRACTICE 2013: Cloud Animals

Any given system–be it the human body, a community, or a game–is composed of individual self-organizing units, or subsystems. Organs make up bodies, people form communities, and sets of reactions compose game mechanics. Each subsystem can likely be broken down yet again into smaller systems of their own. This relationship seems fairly straightforward until we […]

The Player’s Journey: This cake is delicious

Game reviews are more or less informative, straightforward affairs. Pithy observation, narrative summary, 4/5 stars. Some people do this better than others. Some people say 4 is not the right number of stars. Some people don’t like stars. Games criticism, a distinctly different topic meant to be concerned with how games work instead of just whether they do, is a […]

Not a Review: GTA V

Mild spoilers below. I am currently 42% done with the game(39/69 missions). Grand Theft Auto V has received universal acclaim. IGN and Giant Bomb gave it perfect scores, while Eurogamer, Polygon, and Game Informer all gave it a 9/10 or higher. When Gamespot gave the game a 9, commenters screamed that the reviewer should be fired. 

Review: Gone Home

Making new friends was awesome when I was a little kid…especially because I would get to see their homes. Old farmhouses, duplexes, little suburban cubes where the first floor wraps around itself in an attempt to seem bigger than it really is–I was always surprised at how differently people lived. Years later, the sound of […]